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Dan Cohen

Daniel Willard "Dan" Cohen (born June 10, 1936)[2] is an American author, businessperson, and politician from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has provided financial support to candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties and ran as an independent candidate in the 2013 Minneapolis mayoral election,[3] ultimately finishing seventh out of 35 candidates.[4]

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen Mayor.png
Cohen in 2013
Minneapolis City Council President
In office
Member of the Minneapolis City Council from the 7th Ward[1]
In office
Personal details
Born (1936-06-10) June 10, 1936 (age 82)
Political partyIndependent
ResidenceMinneapolis, Minneapolis

He is a member of the Minneapolis Planning Commission and the Minneapolis Charter Commission. He was a member of the Minneapolis City Council from 1965 to 1969 (President, 1967–69)[5] and the Planning Commission from 1976 to 1980 (President, 1977–79).


Early lifeEdit

Cohen grew up in Minneapolis and attended Kenwood School and the Breck School, before graduating from the Blake School in 1954. He attended Stanford University and graduated from Harvard Law School.[6]


At age 29, in 1965, Cohen was elected to City Council and was City Council President from 1967 to 1969.[5] As a member of City Council, Cohen was the original sponsor and supporter of the Minneapolis Industrial Development Commission.[7] He supported long range residential street paving[7] and the establishment of a municipal Human Rights Commission.[8] In his book Losing the Center: The Decline of American Liberalism, 1968–1992, author Jeffrey Bloodworth describes Cohen running the City Council with a "stern, yet decidedly liberal, hand".[8]

In his second term, and as President of the City Council, Cohen ran for Minneapolis mayor and was soundly defeated in the 1969 mayoral election by an independent candidate, Charles Stenvig,[9] despite holding the endorsements of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), the Republican party, and of President Richard Nixon.[10]

Cohen moved to Washington, D.C., and served as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Peace Corps, Washington D.C.[11] In the 1970s, Cohen served on the Minneapolis Planning Commission for four years.[7] He served again in 2009 and 2012 through present.[7]

While working for Wheelock Whitney, Jr.'s 1982 gubernatorial campaign, Cohen agreed to pass some documents with information about DFL Lieutenant Governor candidate Marlene Johnson's criminal history to the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press in exchange for his confidentiality.[12] The newspapers exposed Cohen, who consequently lost his job with the campaign and subsequently sued Star Tribune owner Cowles Media Company.[13] The case, which was eventually argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1991, was decided 5–4 in Cohen's favor, with the defendants ordered to pay $200,000 in damages.[12]

The Star Tribune reported Cohen to be "leading the charge" against conflicts of interest on the Planning Commission.[14] During Cohen’s time on the Commission, he also supported Plain Language Charter Reform.[15]

Cohen announced his candidacy on June 18, 2013, for Minneapolis Mayor in the 2013 election,[16] ultimately finishing in seventh place out of 35 candidates.[4]

Cohen is the author of 20 books, including a biography of Hubert Humphrey, Undefeated: The Life of Hubert H. Humphrey.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

Cohen has been a horseman for many years, mainly dealing with thoroughbreds and primarily for racing at Canterbury Park.[6] He has been on the Board of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association[18] and is currently serving on the Thoroughbred Breeders Fund Allocation Advisory Committee to the Minnesota Racing Commission.[19]


  1. ^ Brandt, Steve (June 19, 2013). "Cohen hoping for a better finish this time". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  2. ^ "Cohen, Dan, 1936-". Library of Congress Name Authority File. Library of Congress. February 24, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Gilbert, Curtis (June 18, 2013). "Dan Cohen launches Minneapolis mayoral bid". MPR News. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "2013 Minneapolis Election Results: Mayor". City of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Boros, Karen (May 28, 2013). "Dan Cohen, former Minneapolis council member, says he may run for mayor". MinnPost. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Cohen, Dan. "Dan Cohen About me". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Roper, Eric (October 15, 2013). "Minneapolis mayoral candidate Dan Cohen – blunt as ever – back on the scene". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Bloodworth 2013, p. 26.
  9. ^ Halter, Nick (July 30, 2013). "Cohen takes another shot at mayor's office, 44 years later". The Journal. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Bloodworth 2013, p. 29.
  11. ^ "Minneapolis mayoral candidates". Southwest Journal. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Cohen v. Cowles Media Company, 501 U.S. White, 663 (U.S. Supreme Court 1991).
  13. ^ Yarbrough 2005, p. 161.
  14. ^ Roper, Eric (October 5, 2012). "Ethics practices of Mpls. planning commission under review". Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  15. ^ "Plain-Language Charter Revision" (PDF). Minneapolis Charter Commission. City of Minneapolis. June 2012. p. 24. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  16. ^ Rao, Maya (June 18, 2013). "Dan Cohen announces bid for mayor". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Undefeated: The Life of Hubert H. Humphrey". Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  18. ^ Cohen, Dan (January 15, 2008). "To revitalize downtown Minneapolis, I'd rather gamble on gambling than shop for more shopping". MinnPost. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  19. ^ Overton, Jesse (February 15, 2012). "Minnesota Racing Commission 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Minnesota Racing Commission. p. 4. Retrieved October 16, 2013.

Works citedEdit